Nicola Sturgeon expresses “contempt” for Scottish Labour over Glasgow Council equal pay dispute

Nicola Sturgeon has slammed the Scottish Labour party after its leader expressed “solidarity” with women who took industrial action after years of discrimination at the hands of a Labour run council.

The SNP leader took to twitter to vent her disgust at MSP Richard Leonard after he said the striking women had “the support and the solidarity of the Scottish Labour Party”.

Responding, Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “While I wish the strike wasn’t happening, I have nothing but admiration for the women involved. However, I feel contempt for a Labour Party expressing solidarity now when, in power, they took these women to court to deny equal pay. @theSNP and @SusaninLangside are working to fix.”

The First Minister’s tweet was a reference to the actions of the Labour party when it ran Scotland’s largest local authority.  Having introduced the pay structure that discriminated against women, the Labour administration at Glasgow council then spent millions of pounds in legal fees as it sought to block compensation claims.

Last year’s local authority elections saw Labour lose control of the council to the SNP.  The new administration sought to resolve the dispute and brought an end to the court action instigated by Labour.  However the ten years of Labour stalling led to frustration that boiled over and resulted in strike action.

The strike prompted several Labour and trade union figures to express support with the striking women on social media.  Several tweets attacked the current SNP administration.

In one tweet, Labour MP Paul Sweeney attempted to lay blame with the SNP led Scottish government

Sweeney said: “The only way that the #EqualPayGlasgow dispute will be resolved is if a settlement is financed by the Scottish Government, unless you are happy to bankrupt Glasgow City Council. Despite having the power to do so you have steadfastly ignored the matter. Pay up for Glasgow’s women.”

Lawyer and trade union member Mike Dailly responded: “Wow. What a brass neck. Half a century of Scottish Labour in Glasgow. Denying women equal pay. Taking them to court and then appealing, and appealing. Never paying. Never saying sorry. No apologies. And then this … #shameless⁠”

Equality lawyer Carol Fox tweeted: “Utterly despair at the staggering hypocrisy of so many today. My determined lobbying of Labour party at all levels ignored for years. Support women fighting for justice and hope all cases resolved soon. In time full story will be told.”

However Sweeney’s attack paled in comparison with that of fellow Labour MP Hugh Gaffney who appeared on SKY News.  Gaffney, who is also a councillor, failed to identify himself as a Labour MP before launching an attack on the SNP.

Gaffney’s attempt to blame the SNP whilst failing to disclose he was a Labour MP prompted derision on social media.

One twitter user didn’t hold back: “Journo asks “have Labour let you down”, to a fucking Labour MP.”

Another tweeted: “@HughGaffneyMP has an absolute cheek trying to blame the SNP for this. They entered negotiations with the unions. This whole situation was perpetrated by the @scottishlabour party and people like @FrankMcAveety who spent millions fighting the equal pay claims.”

It also emerged that Gaffney is a councillor in North Lanarkshire which has similar equal pay issues to that experienced by women employees in Glasgow.  This year it emerged the council had missed a deadline to honour a pension promise made to female employees.

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15 thoughts on “Nicola Sturgeon expresses “contempt” for Scottish Labour over Glasgow Council equal pay dispute

  1. grizebard

    I just hope that at FMQs tomorrow Nicola really lays into Mr. GMB, Richard Wotsisname, for his union’s and party’s shameless behaviour.

    This new exploitation of the GCC women workers is contemptible beyond measure. There are no words to describe how low the Labour Party Northern Outpost and its big-union puppetmasters have now sunk.

    Hard to contemplate, but a new depth lower than the bottom of the Marianas Trench.

  2. Robert Graham

    While most supporters of independence realise what Labour and these unions are up to the general public dont , they are being deprived of the facts for a reason , this is protect the union and any hit on the SNP is fine and fair game .

    I really question the antics of these unions , older readers will remember Red Ken and the havoc the unions caused in the 60s & 70s , while they manipulate their members for their own ends they totally absolve their members in the PCS who are assisting this Tory government implement sanctions and a cruel vindictive regime in the DWP .

    Corbyn & the Shop Steward are doing exactly what will assist the Tory party remain in power in England , all the tories need to do is say look this is what a Labour government will mean a return to union bosses holding the country to ransom ,

    The very situation that heralded in a three term Margaret Thatcher , that Labour still claim was the SNPs fault , while most of who were around at the time know the Labour government at that time were bloody useless and is was their own MPs who did the damage.

    Dont these idiots learn from history and the history of the left in particular , Labour ar intent causing as much trouble as they can , because they cant win at the ballot box ,gutter political terrorist antics are being used.

    The teaching unions are next by calling for a 10% increase they are inviting confrontation lets hope educated people see through the manipulation .

    Gaffney yesterday said it was SNP imposed cuts that were the problem ,a view taken by the other nutter on the labour benches in Holyrood , the real problem is getting the facts out to the general public thats difficult when 99.99% of the media protect this scabby union .

    1. stewartb

      Robert, you mention the EIS’ 10% pay claim. I posted this elsewhere looking for better informed insight.

      What’s going on with the EIS pay claim of 10%? Is this reasonable, even feasible, at this time? How does it square with what follows?

      This from England, from a media release from the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the National Education Union (NEU) dated Tuesday 24 July 2018:

      “Joint union response on teachers’ pay

      Three education unions today welcomed the announcement of a 3.5% pay increase for classroom teachers on the main pay range and the Department for Education’s commitment to funding part of this pay award. This shows that the penny may have dropped in terms of the government recognising the scale of the teacher recruitment and retention crisis.”

      Source: https://neu.org.uk/sites/neu.org.uk/files/Joint_union_response_teachers_pay_Jul24.pdf

      And then I found this dated July 2018:

      “The pay scales for qualified teachers are split into main and upper pay ranges – after entering at the NQT/probationary starting point, teachers are promoted up the scales in line with excellent performance. These ranges, from the main rate to the highest upper rate, differ between countries across the UK:

      England (excluding London) and Wales – £23,720 to £35,008
      London – £24,859 to £41,268 (fringes), £27,596 to £43,348 (outer), £29,664 to £47,751 (inner)
      Scotland – £27,438 to £44,727
      Northern Ireland – £22,243 to £37,870.”

      Source: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/job-sectors/teacher-training-and-education/how-much-do-teachers-get-paid

      Something must surely be wrong with some of this info: how else is the EIS claim for a 10% pay rise be even reasonable at this time? Can anyone with sector knowledge that I don’t have shed any light on all this?

  3. bringiton

    The GMB are not doing the cause of trade unions any favours.
    This is clearly an attempt to deflect responsibility from their previous actions as well as a political attack on the SNP.
    The SNP support worker representation within the board room but this sort of action will lead many to question that idea.
    A very bad day for the trade union movement and will have little or no impact on the final outcome for these women.
    Back to the Winter of discontent perhaps and maybe a sign of where Corbyn is taking the Labour movement.
    Been there done that,got the T shirt and have moved on.

  4. John

    These women don’t even know they have been taken for pstsies by LABOUR , GMB , and UNISON . Why did they not go on strike twelve years ago and every year between until the SNP took over , ‘ it’s because Labour were in power and the Unions were mot allowed to flex their muscle ny their masters .The moneyLabour wasted fighting this for years could have paid womens no longer with us .

  5. Clydebuilt

    Well said Davy. Can’t think of a better tweet that Unionists would want to appear on a Pro Independence web site.

    It can be used to damage the Independence cause. That’s not the purpose of this site.

    Penguins tweet should be taken down!

  6. millie

    Scottish Parliament Equal Pay report- Q&A from 2009.

    With Mark Irvine and others.

    Some interesting answers to questions from Bob Doris etc.
    For instance-

    Quote- “… The unions include some highly principled good, people ….. However, they have a real problem getting equal pay through their organisations because of resistance-…….”

    I’ve only given the report a quick scan, but it looks historically interesting.

    http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=2555&mode=html

  7. vagabondo

    Stefan Cross’s blog on an approach from The Times:

    https://www.a4es.co.uk/blog/who-are-the-malcontents/
    26 Jan, 2018

    He finishes with:

    So let’s see what gets printed. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that after labour got embarrassed into backing the SNP position last week that suddenly there’s negative briefings going on. Of course I might be wrong but as the source is anonymous we are left to guess.
    You make up your own mind

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